Outlook Express Messages Disappear, Bookmarks in Internet Explorer Disappear

Discussion in 'Computer Support' started by rchrdcarlisle, Jul 30, 2006.

  1. I rebooted my computer and when it came back up all my messages in
    outlook express were no longer there and the program acted as if I was
    starting anew requiring me to put in my personal information. Also my
    bookmarks in Internet explorer disappeared. Many of the icons on my
    desktop also disappeared.

    I checked to see if I had a virus and did not.

    I tried to do a system restore but it said that there were no previous
    dates to restore.

    Is there any way I can retrieve the lose messages and bookmarks?

    I am running Windows XP personal on a Dell Dimension about two years


    rchrdcarlisle, Jul 30, 2006
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  2. Sounds to me as if you booted to a new profile (user name). Have you
    re-rebooted yet?
    Beauregard T. Shagnasty, Jul 30, 2006
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  3. rchrdcarlisle

    Toolman Tim Guest

    Look in C:\documents and settings\ and see if there are TWO of you now. I've
    had that happen at work. Somehow Windows logged the user in as an alternate
    user with the same name. Never did find out why. The good news is this: your
    data is NOT LOST. However, I was never able to figure out how to get the
    original user configuration to work again.

    If I'm correct about the two nearly identical user names in the above
    folder, post back and I'll talk you through recovering your data from the
    original user configuration.
    Toolman Tim, Jul 30, 2006
  4. When you say two of me do you mean that my name is listed twice? I
    only see my name listed once. There are three folders in
    documents/settings including Administrator, owner and my name. I don't
    think it set up another identity.

    Thanx for the offer but it does not seem to be the problem. Any other

    I called Dell and of course it is not covered under the three year
    warranty that I bought. They want another $100 to fix this problem.

    I am running another anti-virus program to see if I have a virus as
    the first program came up clean. I have an up to date virus scanner

    The weird thing is that it got rid of a bunch of icons but the
    programs were still there. When I opened the programs all my email was
    gone from outlook express but in my newgroups reader "agent" all the
    groups I subscribe to with all messages were intact.


    rchrdcarlisle, Jul 30, 2006
  5. New user/profile has no settings and messages.
    Your newsreader was installed so any user could access it. Yep, you are
    definitely logged in as a "new" person.
    Beauregard T. Shagnasty, Jul 30, 2006
  6. rchrdcarlisle

    Toolman Tim Guest

    Not weird. Most programs are not assigned to user profiles. So profile
    errors do not usually affect programs.
    How about your address book (contacts) in OE? Or your data files in My
    Documents? Things like that. If they are in the correct place, and OE is the
    only thing that has a problem with missing data, then you could search for
    the *.dbx files OE stores data in, and try to import them back into OE.

    You might want to look at the "My Documents" folder in both the Owner and
    your named profile. It could be that you were inadvertantly using the
    "Owner" account previously (that, unfortunately, is default in the Dell OEM
    installation if the OS had ever been reinstalled). So your data (desktop
    icons, IE favorites, OE data, etc.) are actually in the Owner account, and
    you're now logged in using your named account (or vice-versa).
    Toolman Tim, Jul 30, 2006
  7. All my addresses were deleted. I had to completely reconfigure OE with
    my new identity and smpt and pop server. It was as if I just installed
    the program.

    I think that I am logged in as owner instead of under my name. The
    bookmarks for Internet Explorer are bookmarks listed under the owner
    and all the bookmarks listed under my name are not there. But I cannot
    seem to be able to import the bookmarks as I keep getting error

    How do I switch identities from owner to my name?


    rchrdcarlisle, Jul 30, 2006
  8. After I ran my virus program everything checked out OK except for the
    following three items for which it said "changed" under status instead
    of "OK":


    Does this indicate that the user was changed?


    rchrdcarlisle, Jul 30, 2006
  9. rchrdcarlisle

    Toolman Tim Guest

    That I don't know. Typically, those are files that might be changed by
    Windows Updates or service packs or such IIRC.
    Toolman Tim, Jul 30, 2006
  10. rchrdcarlisle

    Toolman Tim Guest

    WHAT error message?
    Okay. You should probably start by copying the data you need over to the
    account that Windows has you logging into. You said above that the IE
    Favorites would not copy - don't do this in IE, do this in Windows Explorer.
    Typically, I open two windows - one for each "user". Then drag the favorites
    from the missing account to the current one. I'd suggest doing the same for
    the Desktop as well, and My Documents, and My Music, My Pictures, all those
    data related files. Because eventually, you will want to delete the extra

    As for the email, you need to find the data store folder, and the address
    book. You can copy the address book like the above process. Here's where you
    should find it:
    C:\Documents and Settings\(your name)\Application Data\Microsoft\Address

    Getting the data back that was in your email account is a little trickier.
    You have to use OE File, Import, and import from the Store Folder, which
    should be here:
    C:\Documents and Settings\(your name)\Local Settings\Application

    Note that the GID (the bracketed info above) will be different for your
    account, but it will be the same format.

    After you get ALL the data safely copied, and everything is working
    correctly, then you can delete the old account. Then you have two options:
    1) rename the "Owner" account and continue to use it, or 2) create a new
    account with the correct user name, do the WHOLE PROCESS above again to
    transfer data into this new user account, then delete the Owner account. The
    only advantage of the second option, is it gives you the correct user name
    in the C:\documents and settings folder. Other than that, it means nothing.
    Due to the risk of losing data or missing something in these sort of things,
    I'd probably leave it with option 1 if it were me. In fact, when the user
    accounts on that system at work got buggered, that's what I did: recovered
    the data to the working account. Then after a few days, knowing the system
    was working, I deleted the bad account. I never bothered re-creating the
    original user name account.
    Toolman Tim, Jul 30, 2006
  11. Not sure exactly where they are. I could not find any.

    It said "could not find file" even though the *.htm file was there.
    I don't see application data under my name. I do see it under "owner"
    but nothing in it.

    Under documents and settings/my name/desktop I see a bunch of icons
    that were on my desktop before the problem but now are not which makes
    me suspect that what you are suggesting may have happened. But I
    cannot for the life of me find any of the address contacts.

    rchrdcarlisle, Jul 30, 2006
  12. rchrdcarlisle

    Toolman Tim Guest

    Okay - did it work by using Windows Explorer "drag 'n drop" as outlined
    "Nothing" as in the folder is empty? Or "nothing" as in no address book?
    Check your folder view options: Tools, Folder Options, View tab, and be sure
    that "Show hidden files and folders" is selected (while you're there,
    un-select "Hide extensions for known file types".)
    You can copy your icons back to the 'new' desktop - drag 'n drop.

    Just to check which user account is actually logged in, bring up the Task
    Manager (ctrl-alt-del). Then click on the "Users" tab.
    Toolman Tim, Jul 30, 2006
  13. I unselected hide extensions and was able to find my address book!!
    You are a genius. Looks like all the addresses are there. How do I
    get them back to OE?

    Also I am still missing all the folders and saved messages in OE.
    Where do I find those?

    Thanx a lot for your help.

    I did the drag and drop and it did transfer the whole file over to the
    new bookmarks but all the bookmarks are now in one file instead of
    listed separately in folders but that is a minor problem.

    I did that and my name is listed. What I don't understand is that my
    addresses are located under my name and I am logged in under my name
    so why are not the addresses there?

    Thanx again.

    rchrdcarlisle, Jul 30, 2006
  14. I just figured it out. I imported them and now I have my address book

    Now all I need to do if find all the folders and saved messages which
    are still missing. Not sure where to find them.


    rchrdcarlisle, Jul 30, 2006
  15. rchrdcarlisle

    Toolman Tim Guest

    Getting the data back that was in your email account is a little trickier.
    You have to use OE File, Import, and import from the Store Folder, which
    should be here:

    C:\Documents and Settings\(your name)\Local Settings\Application

    Note that the GID (the bracketed info above) will be different for your
    account, but it will be the same format.

    It is entirely possible that Windows will NOT let you import from that
    location. If that occurs, COPY all the DBX files from that location to an
    alternate spot. Like make a temporary folder on the desktop, and copy the
    files there. Then import from that temporary folder.
    Toolman Tim, Jul 30, 2006
  16. I tried to import directly and from the temp file on desktop and got
    the same error message "could not find any messages or file is being
    used by another application which needs to be closed down".

    rchrdcarlisle, Jul 30, 2006
  17. Also the format I had did not include \microsoft\outlook express at
    the end of the string. It ended with the series of numbers and letters

    rchrdcarlisle, Jul 30, 2006
  18. I did a search for dbx files including hidden files and it appears as
    if all my folders and messages are in there which is very good news.

    It found 116 dbx files under C:\Documents and Settings\(my
    name)\Local Settings\Application


    The bad news is when I tried to import these files using the import
    from the store folder it only came up with a single file (instead of
    the 116 files) and would not let me import either directly or from the
    desktop. I also tried using one of those demo OE recovery programs and
    could not seem to get the file to be recognized as a dbx file.

    rchrdcarlisle, Jul 30, 2006
  19. rchrdcarlisle

    Toolman Tim Guest

    You have 116 different folders (each folder is one DBX file) in OE? I
    thought /I/ was crazy. (Of course, some of those are old folders, previously
    deleted. OE doesn't actually remove the file from the hard drive.)

    If all OE saw during the import was one file, you didn't get to the correct
    store folder where those 116 files are. Try again. Or You may need to take
    this to someone who can finish this for you.
    Toolman Tim, Jul 30, 2006
  20. I finally got it. I was not putting in the entire correct file name.

    Yes, I must be crazy. I had over 15,000 saved messages in 76 folders
    that I restored. Everything is completely back to normal. And the
    folks at Dell said that I definitely had a virus that had to be
    removed. I did some research and found that my problem was likely not
    a virus but actually having my virus program check for viruses every
    time I downloaded email. It was recommended that I disable that
    feature of the program.

    Thanx so much.

    rchrdcarlisle, Jul 30, 2006
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